Volunteering and Settlement in Australia: A Snapshot (2019)


Authors: Volunteering Australia and the Settlement Council of Australia.

Published by: Volunteering Australia and the Settlement Council of Australia

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Australian communities with 31% of Australians engaging in volunteering. This delivers a $4.50 return for every dollar invested.

The authors of this study conducted a survey with 94 managers of volunteers and volunteer-involved organisations. With approximately one-third of Australians having engaged in volunteering, this accounts for an estimated $290 billion social and economic impact annually. People born overseas make up around a third of the volunteering body in Australia.

The study found that most new arrivals to Australia, especially migrants and refugees, became involved in volunteering within their first 18 months. Motivations for volunteering differed but common reasons were to contribute to society, make friends, improve English proficiency, and/or to gain local work experience. Volunteering organisations have noted how the programs they offer provide experience as well as personal and professional opportunities for their migrant volunteers. In turn, volunteers provide essential services that contribute to the functioning of the organisations.

Most organisations were interested in culturally appropriate training resources, and over two-thirds of respondents reported the desire for greater support through funding, training programs, collateral, new partnerships, and resource sharing. Knowing how diversity affects volunteering can help organisations to better accommodate and recognise the efforts of volunteers who come from a diverse background. 

Access the full report here.